The English of the southern United States is possibly the most studied of any regional variety of any language because of its rich internal diversity, its distinctiveness among regional varieties in the United States, its significance as a marker of regional identity, and the general folkloric appeal of southern culture. However, most, if not all, books about Southern American English have been directed almost exclusively toward scholars already working in the field. This volume, written by a team of experts, many of them internationally known, provides a broad overview of the foundations of and current research on language variation in the southern United States designed to invite new inquiry and inquirers. It explores historical and cultural elements, iconic contemporary features, and current changes in progress. Central themes, issues and topics of scholarly investigation and debate figure prominently throughout the volume. The extensive bibliography will facilitate continued research.